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Wabash pulls away for win over Denison

Connor Rotterman drives to the bucket on Wednesday night at Chadwick Court. Wabash sent the senior out with a 91-79 win over Denison. Jake Paige | Wabash College

Wabash turned a two-point halftime deficit into a 12-point win against Denison on Wednesday night to close out a shortened 12-game 2021 season.

Kellen Schreiber scored the first 12 points for the Little Giants and reached a career-high 30 total points in a Wabash 91-79 win over the Big Red.

“He’s a really hard worker,” Wabash coach Kyle Brumett said of Schreiber. “Jack Davidson and Tyler Watson those two guys have really been examples of the offseason and out of practice work, but Kellen had really followed Tyler’s lead this offseason and his confidence continued to grow as we started playing games.”

Schreiber had 14 first half points, but the Little Giants trailed 37-35 at the break. Wabash fell behind by as many as nine at 51-42 with 14:01 to play, before making its comeback. The Little Giants went on a 12-2 run, taking their first lead of the second half on a Tyler Watson basket with 10:44 to play. The Big Red led just once more the rest of the way, as Wabash outscored Denison 56-42 in the second half.

The Little Giants connected on 20-of-36 shots from the field in the second half and 33-of-65 for the game. Denison was 27-of-55 from the field, including 7-of-14 from the beyond the arc. Wabash had a 14-4 advantage on second chance points over the final 20 minutes, thanks to eight offensive rebounds. Wabash out-rebounded Denison 38-28 for the game.

Watson added 23 points for the Little Giants, including 18 in the second half, but Ahmoni Jones’ 20 bench points, including 13 in the second half was the difference maker.

“He’s capable, had some games last year where he had 12-16 points, and one scoring game like this earlier this year,” Brumett said of Jones. “But we’ve got to have another guy, especially somebody who can make some jump shots to take some pressure off Schreiber and Watson. Getting that production from Ahmoni was huge, taking nothing away from Kellen and Tyler.”

Jones was a perfect 4-of-4 shooting in the second half, including two 3-pointers.

Wabash celebrated lone senior Connor Rotterman with the win. Rotterman, a Hamilton Southeastern product, who was recruited alongside Jack Davidson, who will return next season, had four points, three assists, and three rebounds.

“Connor is one of the most positive people to be around,” Brumett said. “and we’ve had so many ups and downs, a lot of rollercoasters as we’ve tried to build the program and return the basketball tradition that coach Petty (Mac) had at different times of his career. Players need positivity around them because coaching is criticism and just having a guy like Connor, who was such a good player and athletic, he took on a lot of defensive responsibility. His role changed a number of times, and always improved and accepted and ultimately a great leader.”

Denison had four guys in double-figures. Darren Rubin had 19 points, Freeman Brou 16, Will Hunter 12, and Spencer Patenaude 10.

The Little Giants end their season at 6-6 — and are blessed they had the opportunity to play this season.

“Getting the 12 games in was really hard,” he said. “Hard on the players, coaches, and support staff. We had a lot of help and kids just want to play and I am really proud of the fact that we got all 12 of the ones we scheduled in and proud of the improvements we made and some guys improving from a year ago and some from the beginning of January until now.”

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